Swollen after hysterectomy

Hysterectomy surgery recovery

Table of Contents

Swollen after hysterectomy

What fills the space after a hysterectomy?

Rest after hysterectomy

What happens to your body after a hysterectomy?

Where does sperm go after hysterectomy?

How long does it take to heal internally after hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy complications

Hysterectomy surgery recovery

After having a hysterectomy, you may wake up feeling tired and in some pain. This is normal after this type of surgery.

You’ll be given painkillers to help reduce any pain and discomfort.

If you feel sick after the anaesthetic, your nurse can give you medicine to help relieve this.

You may have:

  • dressings placed over your wounds
  • a drip in your arm
  • a catheter – a small tube that drains urine from your bladder into a collection bag
  • a drainage tube in your abdomen (if you have had an abdominal hysterectomy) to take away any blood from beneath your wound – these tubes usually stay in place for 1 to 2 days
  • a gauze pack inserted into your vagina (if you have had a vaginal hysterectomy) to minimise the risk of bleeding – this usually stays in place for 24 hours

You may also be slightly uncomfortable and feel like you need to poo.

The day after your operation, you’ll be encouraged to take a short walk.

This helps your blood to flow normally, reducing the risk of complications developing, such as blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis).

A physiotherapist may show you how to do some exercises to help your mobility.

They may also show you some pelvic floor muscle exercises to help with your recovery.

After the catheter has been removed, you should be able to pass urine normally.

Any stitches that need to be removed will be taken out 5 to 7 days after your operation.

After a hysterectomy, you may feel tired for several weeks. Try to get lots of rest and remember that it will take a while for your body to heal. Do not do any demanding physical activity or heavy lifting for at least three months. But it is important to do some gentle exercise, such as short walks, which you can gradually increase.

Your doctor can speak to you about when you can start driving again and return to work. This will depend on your situation and how you are recovering.

Many women worry about how a hysterectomy will affect their sex life. Most women are told to wait at least six weeks before having sex. This is to allow time for the wound to heal. After this time, it is safe and healthy to get back to your usual sex life.

Removing the ovaries will bring on an early menopause if you were still having your periods. This can be difficult for some women to deal with, and there is lots of support available.

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Swollen after hysterectomy

After surgery you will probably notice that your belly is swollen and puffy. This is common. The swelling will take several weeks to go down. It may take about 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.

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What fills the space after a hysterectomy?

After your uterus is removed (hysterectomy) all the normal organs that surround the uterus simply fill the position previously occupied by the uterus. Mostly it is bowel that fills the space, as there is lots of small and large bowel immediately adjacent to the uterus. Bladder and bowel following hysterectomy generally have more space to function normally particularly if the uterus is bigger then usual which frequently happens with fibroids, adenomyosis and other conditions causing heavy periods.

Rest after hysterectomy

Most women go home 2-3 days after this surgery, but complete recovery takes from six to eight weeks. During this time, you need to rest at home. You should not be doing housework until you talk with your doctor about restrictions. There should be no lifting for the first two weeks. Walking is encouraged, but not heavy lifting. After 6 weeks, you can get back to your regular activities, including having sex.

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What happens to your body after a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman’s uterus (also known as the womb). The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. During the surgery the whole uterus is usually removed. Your doctor may also remove your fallopian tubes and ovaries. After a hysterectomy, you no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. A hysterectomy alone doesn’t affect your weight or desire for sex. Many women feel healthier because the symptoms they had before surgery are gone. As a result, they become more active and find sex more enjoyable.

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Where does sperm go after hysterectomy?

Following hysterectomy, the remaining areas of your reproductive tract are separated from your abdominal cavity. Because of this, sperm has nowhere to go. It’s eventually expelled from your body along with your normal vaginal secretions. Studies have found that, for many women, sexual function is either unchanged or improved after a hysterectomy. This effect also appears to be independent of the type of surgical procedure used.

Generally, it’s recommended that you wait 6 weeks after your procedure before having sex. Some changes that you may notice can include an increase in vaginal dryness and a lower sex drive (libido).

These effects are more prevalent if you’ve also had your ovaries removed. They happen due to the absence of hormones that are normally produced by the ovaries.

In some women, hormone therapy may help with these symptoms. Using a water-based lubricant during sex can also ease an increase in vaginal dryness.

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How long does it take to heal internally after hysterectomy?

It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover after having an abdominal hysterectomy.

Recovery times are often shorter after a vaginal or laparoscopy hysterectomy.

During this time, you should rest as much as possible and not lift anything heavy, such as bags of shopping.

Your abdominal muscles and the surrounding tissues need time to heal.

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Hysterectomy complications

As with all types of surgery, a hysterectomy can sometimes lead to complications.

Some of the possible complications are:

  • general anaesthetic complications
  • bleeding
  • ureter damage
  • bladder or bowel damage
  • infection
  • blood clots
  • vaginal problems
  • ovary failure
  • early menopause

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